Coffee w/ Mr. Anyabwile, and Discussing Voldemort

Last week, thanks to an outbreak of strep and bronchitis that clogged up doctors in our entire county, I had to take my daughter to a new pediatrician.

When he entered the room, I felt like I was about to make a new best friend: he was a huge, happy, bearded black man who made this guy look like an introvert:

He immediately went to work on establishing rapport w/ my nervous, sick two-year-old daughter. Within minutes, he had her giggling, pushing buttons on his computer, and willingly opening her mouth so he could stick a scary flashlight in it.

I don’t remember what brought it up, but as we were joking and laughing, he said, “I’m gonna quote Voldemort on this one–kids give you brain damage.”

“Voldemort?” I’m a die-hard Harry Potter fan, and I don’t remember that line.

He raised an eyebrow at me, Vulcan-style, and said, “You know, Voldemort. The Comedian-That-Must-Not-Be-Named?”

My sleep-deprived brain went…Comedian, brain damage, must-not-be-named….”OH, COSBY!”

He laughed. “Yeah! Your neurons just fired!” He shook his head. “I was such a fan back in the day, but I’ll never watch or buy another thing from him again. And it’s sad. Dude took half my comedic schtick.” He started typing up my kids prescription, and my respect for him ratcheted up another notch.

“Yeah,” I said, “I can understand it when people *fail*, but this…”

He cut me off so suddenly it startled me: “No, he’s a predator. That’s not a failing. That’s preying on people who trust you. That’s not someone you ‘understand’. That’s someone you arrest.'”

I really want to grill that man a steak.

Mr. Anyabwile, if I ever had the privilege of having that cup of coffee with you, this is what I would say:


This doctor understood what so many people in the modern church can’t seem to comprehend: there’s a real-world difference between a sin and a crime. A sin is something any of us can fall into, any day, apart from the grace of God, and the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. A crime is something that must be dealt with by secular authorities in order to protect the public at large.

Covering up a crime is not the same as administering forgiveness–it is *itself* a crime, because it hinders the administration of justice. It makes others vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

Many church leaders didn’t understand that at one point–including at former SGM churches–and they repented, made restitution, and put policies in place to prevent abuse from happening again.

However, repeatedly denying knowledge of something one *had* to know, based on one’s *publicly available church polity*, covering up one’s own bad decisions or sins, and refusing to take responsibility for things that happened inside the walls of the church one leads…THAT is what the blogging community is crying out about regarding CJ. Regarding your friend. 🙁

Bill Cosby’s predatory behavior terrorized his victims, and affected the entire community of those who looked up to him as the shining example of Black male leadership. CJ Mahaney’s behavior degraded the victims of child sexual abuse in his own church (by not believing them, telling them not to go to the police, and many, many other things), and affected everyone who ever read a book he’d published, or modeled their own ministry after his. At the very least, he should admit culpability, meet with the victims, and apologize.

Sir, I don’t abandon my friends when they sin. I also don’t allow our friendship to continue if they walk daily in sin & deception, refuse to repent, and refuse to walk the difficult road of restoration. It *stinks*, and it’s *hard*, and it drains our energy, vibrance, and time. But if friendship does not include difficult times of accountability and sharing the burden, what the heck is friendship *for*?

I respect you, sir. I’m thankful for all the positive interactions we’ve had on Twitter. I still want to see the Worf uniform. 😀 I just wanted to lay out why we’re all shocked at your decisions, based on everything else we’ve learned about you. It seems 100% contrary to your character to support someone who has actively engaged in deception & oppression, when you so loudly proclaim liberty for the captives, and the truth that sets us all free.

Thank you for your time.

7 thoughts on “Coffee w/ Mr. Anyabwile, and Discussing Voldemort

  1. And at this point, no one can blame the victims if any would refuse to meet with CJ. The most honorable thing he could do at this point is step away from ministry entirely. Otherwise the entire T4G and TGC networks that prop him up will be so corrupted that those who love Christ will have to separate from them. As it stands, repentance from many involved, not just apologies, are absolutely warranted. This is giving more than just CJ a bad reputation with outsiders. These “ministries” have “ichabod” written all over them for their callousness, and trust will take years to rebuild with those Christians in the know.

    1. That’s a good point. If I was a victim, and I’d been consistently called a liar, over the many, many years this has been going on, I seriously don’t know if I’d meet with him either. I’d ask myself, “Is he really repentant, or is this a PR stunt?”

      I’m reaching out to Mr. Anyabwile because he’s shown sensitivity to so many people and groups over time, that I’m genuinely wondering why *this* group, the victims, doesn’t receive that same sensitivity. Why care for people in Haiti, or the nasty parts of DC, and not care for the people who were damaged under the leadership of your own friend? Why not hold that friend accountable?

      Another question is, Why is the T4G annd TGC group propping him up? What do they have to *gain* by allying themselves w/ someone who has had such a questionable past? They kicked Tullian out for much, much lighter reasons—why hasn’t Tullian been welcomed back w/ open arms? Is the repentance that CJ shows somehow greater than Tullian’s? Why?

      These are questions that laity should be asking, not just dudebros in the seminary cafeteria.

      1. Agreed. Hindsight with TT is 20/20. They made the right choice albeit possibly for the wrong reasons. But this- how can they presume to speak into the lives of believers while having lower standards among themselves than for those they preach at? I say “at”, because these guys have no authority at this time. It’s not about hating on them, but rather about warning them in Christian love. That verse in Timothy about (First, 5:2) isn’t about church members who seek justice for how they were treated by the church when their kids were abused! These men need to realize their level of responsibility and hold themselves accountable, whatever it costs. That kind of integrity and humility is what Christians should respect in their leaders, not their flowery words, but their fruit of the Spirit. The show going on like this says to people inside and outside the church that these people are in “ministry” for all the wrong reasons.

  2. So far, I’ve heard nothing from Mr. Anyabwile, either personally or through social media, regarding either my blog, or Nate Sparks’ blog. I really defended him to the other Spiritual Abuse bloggers yesterday—including Amy Smith, whom I deeply respect. I may owe her an apology. I would be deeply saddened if I’d hurt her in an attempt to show grace to someone whom she claimed was untrustworthy. 🙁 I had a good feeling about Mr. Anyabwile.

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